Millions of Chinese children are being raised by their grandparents in rural China because their parents have left to find work in urban areas. While there are no official figures, a recent government report puts the number of “left behind” children at nearly 10 million, though child welfare experts estimate the number to be closer to 60 million.
In the case of the Luo family grandparents, who are elderly and poor, they do what they can to meet the basic needs of four children between the ages of 5 and 11. Local schools, educators and community charities often try to the fill the gaps. Still, many children feel the absence of interaction with their parents, creating a generation of lonely kids whom experts worry may be prone to anxiety, poor school performance and depression.
Joining parents in the city is not usually an option, since China’s Hukou system of household registration dictates that education and health care are accessible only in the district where a child is born and registered. China’s government says it is making child welfare a national priority and will work to improve support to “left behind” children after launching its first national census to assess the problem. (Getty)